Today, there’re dozens of car audio equipment manufacturers. Alpine and Pioneer are some of the most renowned car audio equipment manufacturers. In fact, you’ll hardly fail to come across these two brands when searching for a digital multimedia receiver for your car.
One of the best digital multimedia receivers from Alpine is the Alpine ILX W650. On the other hand, Pioneer boasts of the Pioneer DMH 1500NEX as one of its best digital multimedia receivers. While these two brands of multimedia receivers are meant to serve the same purpose, they’re not made equal. Each brand has its hits and misses. In this article, we’ll compare Alpine ILX W650 vs. Pioneer DMH 1500NEX in detail.
Alpine ILX W650 Review
The ILX W650 multimedia receiver is packed with numerous features. Its technologically advanced features allow for improved car audio performance. Let’s review some of its key features.
One of the features we like most about this receiver is its touchscreen display. It doesn’t have any buttons. Thus, it looks very sleek. The touchscreen responds fast to touch like a tablet or smartphone. Although the screen doesn’t feature an anti-glare design, it’s visible in daylight.
The receiver comes with a feature known as Simple Swipe that allows you to control music by swiping on the screen with two fingers. For instance, you can control the volume by swiping up to increase volume or swiping down to reduce volume. Also, you can swipe left or right to play the previous or next song respectively.
The user interface on the receiver is simplified. You can easily navigate through different menus to control radio, USB, and Bluetooth among other functions.
Connectivity to smartphones
Alpine ILX W650 allows for connectivity to both Android and iPhone. It’s integrated with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With these functionalities, you can use voice commands to open apps, make phone calls, and write text messages among other controls.
You can take advantage of Bluetooth connectivity to stream music from your phone. Also, Bluetooth connectivity allows for hands-free text messaging and making/answering phone calls.
The receiver works well with both standard and high-performance sound systems. It has 4 channels, each with a power output of 16 watts RMS and 40 watts peak power. You can connect it to an external amplifier via the preamp outputs.
Another great feature of this receiver is the equalizer. You can either use the preset equalizer to set it to certain music genres such as rock, jazz, and pop among others. You can also use the 9-band equalizer to adjust the frequencies according to your preferences.
Other top features include:
- Media Xpander- for leveling out compressed file formats to sound like non-compressed files.
- Time correction- for controlling audio delays between speakers located in different mounting locations in your car.
- Subwoofer level control.
- Supports most video common video formats.
- Two camera inputs.
- 7-inch touchscreen.
- Doesn’t allow for menu customization. Also, you cannot customize steering wheel controls.
- You cannot control the background colors.
- Lacks a video output to connect to other screens.
The Alpine ILX W650 is a perfect choice for use with high-performance sound systems. It has all the essential features you’d want in a digital multimedia receiver. However, it can’t serve as a multimedia hub due to the lack of video output.
Pioneer DMH 1500NEX Review
The Pioneer DMH 1500NEX is specially designed to offer enhanced functionality with smartphones. It’s also packed with numerous features that can improve your car audio system significantly. Let’s review its top features.
Display and user interface
The receiver comes with a 7-inch touchscreen. It’s easy to navigate through the menu by simply touching the screen. The buttons on the screen make it easier to make various controls. The touchscreen is resistive such that it responds effortlessly to touch without applying pressure. Also, you can personalize your user experience by moving icons from one part of the screen to another as needed.
Connectivity to smartphones
You can easily connect your Android or Apple smartphone to the receiver, thanks to its support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Although you can connect it with Android Auto wirelessly, you can only connect it with Apple CarPlay via USB.
It offers support for wireless remote control. That way, you can connect to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for Android, and Siri for iPhones.
The receiver comes with an auto-EQ that balances sound when using the provided microphone. You can also use the 13-band equalizer to adjust the sound output according to your preferences.
Another area where the receiver scores highly is its superb audio quality. It comes with a built-in amp that delivers a maximum power output of 200 watts.
Other top features include:
- Supports most audio files.
- High pass filter.
- FM/AM radio.
- SiriusXM ready.
- 2 AV inputs.
- Rear USB port.
- Video output port.
- 6-channel preamp outputs.
- Doesn’t support wireless CarPlay. You need to use a cable to connect CarPlay.
- Lacks a CD player.
The Pioneer DMH 1500NEX offers numerous user interface customization options. Also, it works effortlessly with smartphones. It’s a perfect choice for customization and smartphone integration.
Alpine ILX W650 or Pioneer DMH 1500NEX: Final Thoughts
While both digital multimedia receivers are perfect choices, they differ in certain functionalities. For instance, Alpine ILX W650 offers support for wireless CarPlay while Pioneer DMH 1500NEX requires a wired connection for CarPlay. Also, the Alpine receiver comes with two camera inputs whereas the Pioneer receiver only comes with a single camera input.
On the other hand, Pioneer DMH 1500NEX has a 13-band equalizer whereas Alpine ILX W650 has a 9-band equalizer. With the Pioneer DMH 1500NEX receiver, you can connect it to an external display, thanks to the video output. However, Alpine ILX W650 lacks a video output. Also, the Pioneer receiver outputs more power than the Alpine receiver.
Overall, both multimedia receivers have their hits and misses. Ultimately, your choice should depend on your preferences. Choose the receiver that has the most desirable features depending on your needs and budget.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.